There’s something about a nice pair of shades. I think we all have had at least once decent pair or just a style or type of sunglasses that we just loved at one point in our lives or another. Maybe they fit your face just right or made you look like a movie star. Whatever it was, you loved them.
For me, I had a cheap-o plastic neon dollar store style pair that I used to take out on the bike or on the lake just in case I dropped them and they got smashed or if I lost them in the water. They were cheap and easy to replace. But the thing was they often did fall off my head and get scuffed up or lost. And over time I was replacing them so much that I thought maybe I ought to just invest in a good pair and maybe I wouldn’t lose them so much.
You could blame my skills on a Jetski on all of this, but honestly, I’d lose them one way or another. I think it was my wife who finally bought me my first solid design pair of sunglasses. I don’t remember the brand, but they were aviator style, and I instantly fell in love with them. They fit my head much better than those $5 gas station sunglasses, and I thought I looks pretty darn good in them too.
And it wasn’t too long before summer rolled around again, and we took to the water once more. I’d like to say it wasn’t our first trip out to the lake that summer that did those expensive sun glasses in, but it honestly might have been. And this time, it really wasn’t even my fault. We’d pulled off into an alcove to grill on deck and even swim a little bit.
It was a nice, sunny day. And while I’d taken my sunglasses off earlier when we were tubing, I had them on while I was up on deck. I was carefully trying to drop back into the water, while carefully steadying my beer on the edge of the deck, when what do you know, I moved a little too suddenly and that beer started to wobble. I shot my arm out to steady it, and I’ll have you know I saved that beer from tipping over or falling into the cool waters of Lake Shelbyville.
Yeah, I saved that can of brew. But I ended up heading into the drink myself, so to speak. And when I came back up, my beer was just fine. But as I reached up to grab it from the deck, I noticed something else was gone: my expensive shades.
I was pretty upset and even dove down a few times to try to find them, as though in 20 plus feet of water I was gonna have any chance. Needless to say, my pricey sunglasses that my wife had bought me were gone.
I tried not to make a big deal about it, but later that night I got on my smartphone to try to order another pair. That’s when I saw the hefty price tag, and I thought to myself, I would never personally pay that amount for any pair of sunglasses, especially glasses that could end up at the bottom of a lake or smashed up from falling off the top of my head.
I was telling a buddy of mine, Cory, that story, when we had an epiphanic moment. What if we could get a pair of sunglasses that actually floated? Wouldn’t these be perfect for heading out on the ocean or a lake on a nice summer day? And isn’t this one of the most common times that you’re gonna want some shades anyway?
It sort of just made sense. But in our quest to find a pair of sunglasses that would float, we weren’t really finding any solid options. One guy at some store that sold sunglasses even suggested that we just tie a floating keychain to our shades somehow.
Sure. That’ll look cool. Walking around with a big floating foam thingie attached to your face. Great.
We started questioning why sunglasses sunk in water in the first place. The answer was pretty obvious. Most frames are made out of metal or plastic. Metals are heavier than water, and even most plastic will sink eventually. So we figured the solution lay in choosing a good frame material. We both immediately could think of one obvious choice of material that we knew would float: wood.
When we couldn’t find any decent sunglasses that worked like this, we decided we’d try to make some ourselves. Our first prototypes were nothing too flashy. We had a woodworking buddy cut out some blocky style frames, glued some dollar store lenses in place, and dropped those bad boys into a pool of water. And what do you know? They floated.
The next step involved actually working up a proper design, finding a manufacturer, and picking a wood type.
With the first big problem solved--the whole floating sunglasses part--we decided to try to tackle a second issue. So many designer sunglasses out there are super expensive. Heck, if that first pair I lost in the lake had cost more like half the price, I probably wouldn’t have ever decided to try to make my own in the first place.
We were going to try to make some affordable and stylish shades that also floated on the water. But to do so, we needed both great styles and sustainable materials.
We had plenty of design ideas right off the bat, but we decided we’d launch with too icon sets of frames and a load of options for lenses and polarization. But we needed to find an affordable wood base that would be sustainable and not involve harming the environment in order to have sweet shades. After all, if our sunglasses contribute to climate change and harm the very lifestyle that we enjoy--going to the beach, heading out on a boat, swimming in our oceans and lakes--then what’s the point? There’s no reason for us not to be conscientious capitalist, and in our opinion, it is easier to start a business from the ground up in a sustainable way than trying to make some money before converting to more climate friendly methods.
There are other companies out there making wooden sunglasses, but whereas many of the others make more expensive products than ours, they also don’t necessarily disclose exactly what kind of “wood” they use in all their products.
For us as a company and as human beings, this was absolutely necessary. So when we went looking for materials, we found one that was incredibly sustainable and good for our environment and our world: 100% Natural Bamboo.
All our products are made from sustainable bamboo.
That’s right: bamboo sunglasses.
Why choose bamboo?
Bamboo grows at an astonishing rate. Some species can grow upwards of four feet in a single day. Just to put that into perspective, a hardwood tree, like oak, grows roughly one foot a year. Because of the rapidity of growth, a bamboo crop can typically be harvested in about 3 to 5 years, whereas most traditional softwoods take 10 to 20 years to mature.
And it isn’t just the rapid growth of the bamboo that makes it so much better for the environment. It’s the way in which the plant grows. You see bamboo is supported by a series of rhizomatic root systems.
Wait! What the heck is a rhizome?
A rhizome is actually a network or system of interconnected webs. I like to think of it kind of like the Internet, actually. Just like all our devices, from smart phones to computers, are connected to the Internet via servers and networks, a field of bamboo is interconnected too via a massive underground root system.
These rhizomatic roots actually help the bamboo to regenerate and spread, unlike many traditional wood crops. Think of it this way. If you want to make sure a tree is going to grow somewhere say in a row with other trees, whether you’re trying to plant a forest worth of crop for harvest or just running a Christmas tree farm or something, you’re going to want to grow a sapling ideally in a controlled condition, like a pot or cultivated area, and perhaps even indoors. Then once the sapling begins to thrive, going from seed to young tree, you’ll transplant it into a row outdoors. There’s a lot of steps there, and every step of the process takes a lot of time. Growing from a seed, into a sapling, and then a mature tree ready for harvest can take a decade or longer.
But with a rhizomatic root system, new bamboo sprouts come right out of the ground from the roots themselves. And the entire bamboo cluster is connected, so you might sustainably farm some of it, and let that patch regenerate naturally via the rhizome of roots below, before farming a different section. Then rinse and repeat. And since bamboo grows so stinking fast, instead of having to spread out your harvest cycle over a decade or two, you can do so in as few as three years.
Honestly, had we not found such a sustainable material as bamboo, our entire enterprise may not have gotten off the ground in the first place. It really was a deal breaker for us to not be as close to carbon neutral as humanly possible.
Of course, our other initial goal in developing these environmentally friendly sunglasses was covered too. We’re talking about floating eyeglass frames here! Our wooden sunglasses are both sustainable / good for the environment and great for a day at the beach or out on the water.
As a bonus though, these wood frame glasses are also super lightweight. No joke, when
we made our first prototypes out of local wood and timber, they weren’t all that comfortable nor lightweight. So when we got in our first bamboo shades, we were blown away. Bamboo is such a lightweight material that you almost forget you are wearing these sunglasses.
Personally, this is a great pro for me, as sometimes wearing glasses gives me a headache or creates sinus pressure on my nose and face. But with Tymber Shades on, I hardly even notice these wooden sunglasses are on my face.
Out the gate, we wanted to product unisex shades--women’s and men’s wooden sunglasses. And so we launched our classic beach style Triton Shades and our boating life Kraken Sunglasses.
As we continued our design process to make the best possible product we could, we complimented our frames with durable spring hinges. These shades are built to last. And the whole package still floats so you won’t ever lose them in the water.
Which brings us to our lens selection.
We wanted to accomplish a few things when it came to lens design. We wanted to offer a variety of colors and gradients. So out the gate, we launched with our cool Ice Blue, smooth Electric Green, stylish Silver Surfer, and classic Stealth Grey. All of our lenses are 100% polarized to UV400 to be exact. But we didn’t stop there. We coated our lenses specially to be saltwater resistant for those of you who hit the ocean front regularly.
So we had our design pretty much finalized, and we started up production. But we still weren’t quite done just yet. We wanted to take it one step further.
So we launched with a 1 year free replacement warranty.
That’s right. Within the first year, you break your Tymber Shades, we’ll replace them for free!
You just pay for shipping, and we’ll send you a new pair for free. We stand behind our product. These bamboo shades are built to last. But if something should happen, we’ll cover you. Just hit us up, and we’ll make it right.
And with that, Tymber Shades were ready to order. We’d created a sustainable product and business with an innovative floating, all natural bamboo pair of sunglasses perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re taking your kayak out or just lounging on the beach, whether you love fishing at the local lake or dig riding the gnarly waves on your surfboard, our Tymber Shades are the perfect sunglasses for you. And they’re great for the environment too. Help us change the world, one pair of shades at a time. Spread the word about Tymber wherever you can. Every little bit helps. And go ahead and order yourself a pair today. We think these will be the best sunglasses you ever wear whether you’re hitting the road or hanging at the beach.
Our CEO and Founder